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Holeechow

Tried to call them last night, and let the phone ring 20 times, ... no answer.
I went to the store at Woodbine and Queen, at 6:30, and it was closed. Hmmmm... I wonder?

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    1. re: CeeQueue

      I agree! Consider yourself lucky!

    2. I've only tried them twice in the last 15 yrs. The food is ok but way expensive! Dinner for 4 sometimes came up to about $65 sometimes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TOchowgal

        The taste was okay, but every time I got Ho Lee Chow in Toronto, they cheaped out so badly on the meat that it was ridiculous. I ordered a chicken and veggie dish one time, and there were four pieces of chicken the size of quarters in it... all the rest was green peppers and onion and sauce. Disgusting! To top it off, I ordered a dozen Ho Lee Chow spring rolls (I like the flavour) and there was so little meat in them that they were nearly two dimensional.

        At least they have good customer service. I let the head office know how unacceptable the meal was and they gave me a credit to my account for the value of the meal. I moved to Ottawa, and decided to give their location up here a try since I had the credit, expecting it to be equally terrible... and I ended up being very pleasantly surprised! Certainly not authentic and not nearly my favourite Canadian Chinese, but it was actually very good in terms of the flavours and portions. I will probably order again if in the neighbourhood.

      2. They're renovating that location. Details are on Ho Lee Chow's website.

        1. Consider this a narrow escape. Miniscule, expensive portions devoid of tast. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

          1. The website is down and the phone line has a message confirming that they are out of business -- blaming the economic downturn.

            3 Replies
            1. re: caviartothegeneral

              I just walked by and there is a notice on the door from the landlord. While it's unfortunate that people have lost their jobs, that particular Ho Lee Chow was pretty bad.

              1. re: ms. clicquot

                The odd thing is that the main website that serves all locations is no longer present. That suggests to me that the head office closed also.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  The web hosting firm's default page is up now. That could imply that they weren't paying their bills, which could mean they're in bad financial shape. Or that they're disorganized (Microsoft accidentally let one of their domains expire a few years ago).

                  It could also mean that they're having hosting problems, which could mean anything from their hosting provider is now frantically restoring backups for a thousand domains include Ho Lee Chow's to a badly coordinated transfer to another provider.

            2. Call Sea Breaze. They are only at Queen and Greenwood. Them or any other family-run places that can only do a much better job than HLC.

              11 Replies
              1. re: neighborguy

                Agreed. Seabreeze is great for Chinese-Canadian: good service and food.

                1. re: vorpal

                  Oh my. I tried Seabreeze once and never went back. It was that bad. Service and food were both severely lacking.

                  I can sort of recommend the Wokker on Queen E. (I haven't ordered from there in a couple of years).

                  I have heard good things about Peking Express on Parliament (no recent experience), and also that China House on Eglinton W still does some things well.

                  1. re: embee

                    Seabreeze does have some bad dishes; perhaps you just were unlucky in your choices? We were weekly orderers or so from them for a couple of years and rarely had a bad experience once we figured out what to get; furthermore, the family that owns Seabreeze always treated us very well.

                    1. re: vorpal

                      Vorpal, could you let us in on your ordering recommendations?

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        I would be happy to! As I no longer have a takeout menu from them, I'll probably be forgetting multiple things, but hopefully this list will give you some tips.

                        EXCELLENT:
                        * Deep fried chicken with spicy salt / chicken wings in spicy salt: both very tasty and juicy. Probably my favourite dish.
                        * Lemon chicken: well done with what tastes to be a natural, homemade sauce.
                        * Tai Dop Voy: nice mix of veggies and meat in a good sauce.
                        * Meat with seven vegetables: good mix again of veg and meat, nice flavourful sauce.
                        * Ho fen noodles: not bad. Noodles nicely cooked, decent amount of beef.
                        * Chicken with sugar snap peas / chicken with snow peas: both excellent.
                        * Pork with szechuan green beans: another absolute favourite. Ground pork with slightly spicy beans in a strong soy sauce. Very tasty.

                        AVOID:
                        * Dumplings: thick skinned, gross.
                        * Fried rice: your standard, boring, underseasoned Canadian-Chinese restaurant fried rice.
                        * Curries: all boring.

                        There probably should be a lot more on that avoid list, but I can't think of half the dishes off the top of my head. My friend used to swear by the sweet and sour pork. I never tried it, as it was in that gluey artificial red sauce, which I can't eat for health reasons, but he insisted on visiting to get it at least weekly, so if you're inclined in that direction, I assume it's at least acceptable :-).

                        Hope this helps; I'll elaborate if I think of anything else.

                        1. re: vorpal

                          Thanks for the tips. Will definitely refer to it next time a Chinese food craving strikes.

                      2. re: vorpal

                        I have to agree with Vorpal. I'm shocked that anybody could complain about the service at Seabreeze. i've been going there for longer than I like to remember and I've never received bad service. It's my "go to "place when I want a quick lunch or dinner. As for what's good, I like Their Cantonese Chow Mein, Snow peas and beef on rice, Black Bean chicken on rice, Ma Po bean curd, Asparagus and beef on rice, and a few other things. A big part of their business is take out and delivery, especially on the weekend, so yes give it a try.

                        1. re: Leslieville

                          Agree about Seabreeze. it was my regular take-out/delivery place when I lived in the Beach(es); also ate in occasionally. Never had issues. Thought it a solid family-run Chinese resto, decent food, good service. I remember when one of the offspring opened up Seabreeze II up on Danforth Rd near Danforth Ave. (ordered from there too) and wonder if that's still there?

                          1. re: Leslieville

                            Hear, hear! Every time I called, the order taker (usually the same lady) would greet me with a great deal of friendliness and already know my address as a regular and just confirm it. Also, when I used to rollerblade down in the summer to pick up my order, the same lady would rush to the door upon seeing me to bring me my food and take my credit card or cash from me to process it so that I didn't have to remove my rollerblades and change into my shoes. Whenever I ate in, the whole family was always very friendly and accommodating and took very good care of me and my guests.

                            embee, if you're reading this, could you share with us what your specific complaints were? I'm very curious.

                            1. re: vorpal

                              I had been hearing good things about Seabreeze for a long time. The dim sum were said to be particularly good, but it turned out they didn't make dim sum. Apparently they had stopped shortly before.

                              Although it was not busy, we waited a long time before our order was taken and a longer time for our food. The kitchen did not seem to be particularly busy, with takeout orders or with anything else. I'm not sure, but I think we also waited for our bill.

                              It was several years ago, so I can't remember what we had. What I do remember was that everything was really boring and, combined with the absent service, not worth a second chance.

                              Perhaps We'll try again using some of your suggestions, though I don't crave that kind of food very often.

                              1. re: embee

                                embee, I was really surprised to read your first post on SB. I've ordered there countless times myself and have nothing but good experiences.

                                The dishes I've had include Cantonese Chow Mein, Singapore vermicelli, Shanghai noodle, BBQ pork + seven veg, Chow gai deu and these have all been executed respectfully.

                                And I've always been treated well, either in person when I show up in the dining room or get delivery. The woman answering the phone is always pleasant and tho we might do business on average six times a year she remembers my favourites and even my request declining cutlery and condiments.

                                It's a decent family business that deserves your hard-earned money. I definitely prefer to support them rather than some faceless chain.

                  2. I tried Holy Chow about a month ago..after a ten year break...the food was absolutely dreadful, all the sauces came in sealed plastic bags!!! Soo guy sauce..in a bag!
                    I don't mind old school chinese once in a while ..but this was so bad I threw it the garbage..no wonder they are out of business.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JesseJensen

                      Old school Chinese? This is bad Chinese Canadian/American food and is about as old school Chinese as a pepperoni pizza is old school Italian. You can get better Chinese food at food courts.

                      1. re: JesseJensen

                        I hear a report emerging that they have closed all of the Holy Chows now.
                        Agree.
                        No great loss. Feel bad for the employees that might be displaced however.

                      2. Just heard a long segment on 680 News about the closure, as well as feedback from loyal fans who "love ho lee chow"

                        I always liked Mandarin better

                          1. In retrospect, when Ho Lee Chow started, their aim was fairly noble in to present food with attractive presentation and colourful not overcooked vegetables. I did try them and enjoy in those early days, but distance was always a factor and after that time, I hardly ever went back, and they truly just became a franchise operation, no doubt to everyone's detriment!! Just the road that franchise operations so often travel!

                            1. Just got a flyer from this place http://www.hlcrestaurants.com/Menu.htm

                              Wonder if their menu is the same?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Teep

                                The menu looks the same to me.

                                Note that this is the Ho-Lee Chow location that delivered to me in Toronto, and whose quality of food was so bad that I complained and got a $30 credit to my account. The dishes I ordered essentially consisted of about four pieces of meat the size of twoonies on a heap of green peppers and onions. The filling in the spring rolls was so scant that they were nearly two dimensional. Disgusting.

                                I ended up using my credit here in Ottawa and heard from the employees at the Ottawa store that the Toronto stores were well-known for being terrible and cheap with their ingredients despite policies. I hate to admit it, but the Ottawa branch was actually quite good for horribly North Americanized chain Chinese food.

                              2. The one at Dundas and Jarvis is still open. Or it was 2 weeks ago.

                                1 Reply
                                1. There was a message on my phone tonight from Ho Lee Chow telling me that my local branch was open for business (Beaches). Maybe some of the franchises have been resurrected?

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                                  Ho Lee Chow
                                  , Toronto, ON M5G, CA